BENCHES

Dear John

When you are suddenly in a horrible place, with the prospect of losing your dear partner, certain things become horribly significant.

On the back way into the hospital, which I mostly used, by the Chapel, there were some benches.  When I looked at them on the bad days, it was unbearable.  Because benches suggest two people sitting on them in companionship, a couple – as we had so often sat on benches in parks and country gardens and seafronts.

Suddenly you are forced to think – oh dear, benches will be difficult, if it’s just me in future alone, having lost him.

Then on the good days, when I thought you were waking up and there was hope, I didn’t mind the benches.  I smiled at them, I thought – it’s okay, I’ll still be sitting on benches with my dear John.

So the nature of those benches at the hospital changed day by day, depending on whether it was a period of hope or despair.

Eventually it went on so long, they became irrelevant again.  The initial pain of what they represented had become dulled, and once we were into the final stages – well, it was just not something that mattered.

I have all my future now to revisit benches we sat on (if I can bear to do that), to have a memorial bench for you in my own garden maybe, and to think about how I feel about them when I sit on one alone.

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